In Utah, lawmakers approved legislation lowering the legal blood alcohol limit for drivers from 0.08 to 0.05, the lowest limit in the entire nation. This new limit will be in full effect starting the end of 2018. Many drivers in Utah and across the country seem very concerned, as the limit imposed could lead to unnecessary arrests and severe punishments for safe drivers.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claims that an average 160-pound man would be in violation of the new blood average limit after consuming only two alcoholic beverages in one hour.
While writing for the Washington Times, Richard Berman — the president of Berman and Company, a public affairs firm representing the American Beverage Institute, has been noted stating that this new law is rather unnecessary and could cause a great deal of trouble to responsible drivers, if implemented by other states, as well.
“Why should you care about what happens in Utah with their known bias against alcohol consumption?” Berman wrote. “Because in 1983, Utah became the first state to lower its BAC arrest level to .08. After many years and contentious fights surrounding drinking and relative impairment, all 49 other states followed suit. Admittedly, this copycat phenomenon was helped by the threat of losing federal money for a law that was aimed at the wrong people. As is often the case in politics, the desire to say “me too”—not informed judgment—was the impetus behind the momentum. That’s why it’s important to pay attention, even if it’s to Utah’s weird alcohol laws.”
“For the uninitiated in the arcane world of blood alcohol levels, impairment is a term too loosely defined,” Berman wrote. “Research indicates a .05 BAC while driving is considered less dangerous than talking on a hands-free cellphone or speeding.”
Norm Thurston, the Utah Republican state Rep. sponsored the bill, and stated that the new requirement is justified, as it will deter people from drinking and driving, and improve overall public safety.